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Munich May 21, 2009

 
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TER1310
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject: Munich May 21, 2009 Reply with quote

The Flying Dutchman
Munich May 21, 2009

Act1
The stage is set as a small bay, steep cliffs on either side of the stage and a few rocks in the middle. The sky and the sea are projected in the background. The lighting effects changes according to the music, from rough waves and dark clouds, to calm sea and the light of the moon shining through the clouds. On the right side of the stage, a modern metal gangway is lowered, and the Norwegian crew, mainly dressed in jeans and pullovers, some in dark jackets and caps, go ashore. Hawsers secure the invisible ship. The steersman is running up and down the gangway, pulling the ropes, making sure everything is ok, jumping up and down, falling over as he is singing about Mädel and the south wind. He is definitely not sleepy and he disappears as the Dutchman enters the stage by an old wooden ramp covered by dead seaweed.

This Dutchman has sailed the seas for centuries. He is dressed as a 17th century Dutch sea captain. He is wearing a big black hat with a feather, big leather boots, big gloves and a long black cloak. He has shoulder-long dark hair and beard stubbles. As the Dutchman sings, “Die Frist is um”, a young, beautiful, tall, blonde girl, dressed in a long white, sleeveless satin dress, appears on stage. She looks like an angel, and I suppose she is the image of the faithful woman the Dutchman is searching for, the one who will save him. She is teasing and flirting with the Dutchman, throws him a white rose, and later steals his cigar. The Dutchman’s crew enters the stage as the Dutchman sings: “Wann alle Toten auferstehen”. Ghostlike, wearing the same kind of 17th century costumes as the Dutchman, they look like they have stepped out of a Flemish painting. Daland and the steersman arrive and greet the Dutchman. Daland wants to go on board the Dutchman’s ship, but the Dutchman refuses. The Dutchman’s crew brings the treasure trove ashore. It contains pearls, jewels and gold. The steersman brings a folding table and two folding chairs. The Dutchman, having no experience with modern camping equipment, examines the chair carefully before sitting down. The Dutchman explains his fate and Daland invites him home to meet his daughter. The Norwegian sailors arrive, filling their pockets with the Dutchman’s treasures. The Dutch crewmembers are not happy, forcing the Norwegians to return the treasures. The bargaining scene involves wine, overturning of furniture, and some kind of dance. (The Dutchman, Daland and the steersman holding hands and kicking their legs to the left and then to the right).


Act 2
The women, wearing colourful T-shirts and tights, are on their exercise bikes, spinning in a modern gym. Mary is fixing the broken scales, serving energy drinks, and handing out fresh towels. Senta arrives carrying her bag and a painting, a Flemish-style portrait of an old man. The women are teasing Senta about the portrait and her infatuation with the Dutchman. Eric enters wearing a white bathrobe and flip-flops, hiding behind a pillar, eavesdropping, as Senta proclaims how her love will free the condemned sailor from his curse. Then there are words that the Norwegian ship has arrived, and the women leave. Eric and Senta are left alone. Eric passionately tells Senta about his dream, almost violently as he pushes her and she falls on the floor. He is obsessed by Senta and he violently smashes the portrait of the Dutchman to pieces. Senta is very upset and Eric leaves stumbling across a couple of bikes. The next moment the Dutchman and Daland arrive. The Dutchman is carrying a big greyish box. Daland is a caring father, and Senta seems to be very trusting and fond of him. The Dutchman is watching Senta. He seems very impressed with her, falling in love. Dalland leaves, encouraging Senta to except the Dutchman. The Dutchman tells her about his fate and proposes to her. He opens the box, and pulls out a beautiful ancient dress and a torn old veil, more grey than white in colour. He dresses her as a bride. She is overjoyed, throwing herself into the Dutchman’s arms. Daland arrives, very happy to celebrate their engagement, and the safe return of ship and its crew.

Act3
The Norwegian crew is partying at the local bar. The Dutch crew is present, gloomy-looking, sitting around four tables in the corner. The Norwegians provoke them and they start fighting. Eric arrives with a loaded rifle, dressed as a hunter. Senta arrives a moment later dressed in the ancient wedding dress, carrying a suitcase. Eric cannot except she is engaged to be married, and once again tells her about his love for her, unaware that the Dutchman is present. The Dutchman gets very upset and throws the white rose at her. She rips her wedding dress off and hurls it at the Dutchman’s feet. She picks up her suitcase and wants to leave, but is stopped by the Dutchman. As she proclaims she will be faithful to death, she uses a candle to set a barrel of explosives on fire. A big bang and the theatre turns dark. A recording of Wagner’s music is playing in the background. As the lights are turned on, the chorus and the singers are gathered on stage.

Tremendous applause from the audience, lasting about 10-12 minutes, ending in standing ovations. I stopped counting the numer of curtain calls. As the audience was leaving, a man went in front of the stage, applauding all the time. Soon a group people joined him, all of them clapping. Bryn, Anja Kampe, and the conductor, Cornelius Meister, rewarded with them two extra curtain calls.



Bryn was the star of the show. His impeccable German diction, his voice in magnificent form, his towering stage presence, his attention to small details in acting and singing, this was a most memorable performance. A performance most compelling, a performance of great musicality and human emotions. Bryn’s three Dutchmen, performed at WMC, ROH and the Bayerische Staatsoper, are very different characters, focusing on different aspects of the story, portraying human emotions convincingly and masterfully. This one exuded nobility, self-confidence and seriousness.

Anja Kampe portrayed Senta as a modern woman, self-confident, strong-willed, independent, and with a mind of her own. Her performance was dramatically very exciting, and she manages to bring life to Senta. She manages making the character believable, and she is a wonderful bright soprano.

I really enjoyed Nikolai Schukoff portraying Erik. This was no wimp, but a passionate man, forceful, fighting for the love of his life. His voice is beautiful with a wonderful timbre.

Matti Salminen made a warm, caring, and likable Daland. A polished performance.
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Last edited by TER1310 on Thu May 28, 2009 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TER1349
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the wonderful review, Bjorg. I'm so envious of those of you who were fortunate enough to see the performance. Bryn just seems to get better and better!

Louise
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TER1310
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Sohre of Opera Today reviewing the Munich Dutchman.


"Even a willful re-writing of the story by a bad boy stage director, however, could not steal the focus from the brilliance of Bryn Terfel’s assumption of the title role. Surely this is one of the most glorious vocal instruments currently to be heard in the lyric theatre. From his first intense sotto voce utterance, Mr. Terfel served notice that his Dutchman was more resigned than tortured, more refined than bombastic, more rounded and musical by miles than most park-and-bark Wagnerian practitioners.

That rolling, richly burnished tone poured out with ease and power, and his acting was subtle and noble. His great duet with Senta was as tender and persuasive as I have yet experienced, and his stamina and sound technique found him sounding as fresh at opera’s end as at the start. Richly colored, finely detailed, superbly shaped phrases characterized Terfel’s tremendous musicianship, and they were wedded to an easy, engaging stage presence. If we are ever searching for members of A New Golden Age (and aren’t we always?), we can start with Bryn Terfel."


http://www.operatoday.com/content/2009/06/no_redemption_f.php

Unfortunately, no picture of Bryn as the Dutchman.
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